The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Dear Little One

Today your Auntie C left after 10 days of Mommy-sitting. It has been so lovely having her here, having her as a distraction, a buffer, a shoulder.

A letter arrived on Friday morning with the preliminary findings of your autopsy. In all of the things I never thought I'd do in my life, this figures pretty high on the list. I never thought I'd write my dead sweet little boy a letter about what his autopsy results were. I never thought I would love or miss someone this much.

The findings are vague; thus far, all I know is that you had underdeveloped lungs and a venous drainage problem that made you and life 'incompatible.' And so we wait a bit more.

Other things I never thought I'd do: I never thought I'd discover that most funeral parlors do not charge baby funerals or cremations and that they also provide little baby coffins free of charge. The coffins are in white with a name plate. The funeral directors provide a car to carry the parents and guests to the crematorium. I never thought I would use the phrase 'my dead son' or variations and feel numb to the flicker of shock that crosses people's faces. I never thought I would hold a scratch mitten and think of your tiny, tiny hand clutching my finger while my heart swelled and prepared to break.

When we left you sleeping at UCLH, I think both your father and I entered a state of suspended animation. We went on auto-pilot and -- for the most part -- assumed that the world would step in and take over and that your remains would arrive in a box. Magically, the saddest of presents, so that we could lay you to rest with your grandparents in the sweet smelling spring of Welsh countryside. You would have learned to fish here, to climb trees, and to swim in the sea. And so you shall learn to do all these things, my little darling. You'll just learn to do them in your own time.

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